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What Went Well

Jun 16, 2022

During one of the first few sessions of coaching, my coach started off by asking me what went well. My brain went straight to thinking, what do you mean? Nothing went well. I paused for a long while. It was worse than pulling hair. My brain, the thinking tank, was empty. Blank. My coach was nice enough to give me a nudge or two, and gave me some suggestions. She offered that it could be anything, big or small. Somehow I came up with 3 things. I don’t remember what they are now, but I remember my coach told me to celebrate, even little things.

Week by week, I was asked the same question: what went well. Gradually, I noticed that it took shorter and shorter time to recognize those wins. It could be about a patient who thanked me for explaining medical issues in layman’s terms that was easy to understand. It could be about how my family enjoyed the dessert I baked for the first time.  It could be about how I had a great time sitting on the sand and enjoying the ocean breeze.

Then I started to notice more and more things during the day. Little triumphant moments. Yay! One patient chart down, 23 more to go – I got this! Chocolate chip cookie as a bonus snack! The outdoor barbeque was amazing with a cloudless sky as the backdrop!

It got to the point that finding things that went well has become a natural thing to do, almost as effortless as walking.

The power of repetition. The constant exercising of those brain cells to find the wins. To focus on the positive things. This is not the same as ignoring things that did not go well. Overall, the positive focus makes it easier to endure the not-so-pleasant experiences. I don’t dwell in those negative wells as much. I don’t get stuck or fixate on the fact that things didn’t go the way I wanted. (Or did they? Depends on how I perceive things right?) There is always something to learn from any experience in life.

I enjoy thinking about what went well. I also enjoy sharing about those things. To go a step further, it usually comes down to a few things. I celebrate the person I have become – for example, I am the person who finishes my charts on time. I keep in alignment with my values – I love to spend time with my family. I can do hard things – surprises or challenges are part of living, and I can handle them.

Focusing on what went well generates more positive emotions. I get to feel joy, content, triumphant, gratitude, and much more. Positive emotions are sustainable fuels to use for the day. The positive fuels can be shared with other people around you. They get to fill their tanks with the same energy source. Together we are better equipped to face the world’s challenges.

As I continue to practice finding what went well in my everyday being, I invited my kids to do the same.

About a week ago, I told the kids that we would talk about 3 things that went well for them that day. My 10-year-old son was like, what? Nothing went well. (Sound familiar?) With some encouragement, he is usually able to give me 3 things each day.

The same with my older daughter. She still gives me one-word answers, like, “food”. I prompted, “What do you mean?” She answered, “I got to eat this delicious burger and that was good.”

The other night, I asked my son “WWW” – what went well. He started off with his typical reflex answer of “nothing went well”.

I said, “Come on, tell me. What are you wins?”

After a few words of encouragement, he said, “I farted a lot and no one found out about it.”

“That’s more like wind. Alright, why is that a win? How do you feel?” I asked.

The little boy answered, “Triumphant.”

Celebrate your wins. Celebrate things that went well. It can be anything. Start finding any reason to celebrate today!

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